Whether you are a fresh-out-of-law-school solo practitioner who “hung a shingle” as soon as you passed the bar exam, or are a veteran attorney who grew tired of big firm life and decided to go it alone, there is one commonality for all solo and small firm practitioners – the tools and resources generally available to large firm practitioners may not be as easily accessible to you.
However, as the national movement in legal continues to trend towards small and solo firms, so do the resources and tools available to small and solo firm practitioners. According to an American Bar Association article, “for a variety of reasons, including greater regulation of businesses and internal pressure on corporate legal departments to cut costs, companies are expanding their in-house legal offices. As a result, companies have less need for large firms that can handle cases in multiple jurisdictions, for many businesses now have their own legal teams on the ground and have the ability to coordinate multiple levels of far-reaching cases that previously required the resources of large law firms. Growth of in-house counsel departments gives companies new flexibility to choose small law firms.”
The business case for staying small can be made in many ways, but what’s even more encouraging is the myriad products, programs, and services readily available that can assist you with your practice management. Here are some of our favorite small/solo resources:
Blogs: There is no better mentor for how to successfully practice as a solo than a solo who is successfully practicing. While there are countless lawyer blogs, some of the best blogs related to solo practice, in our opinion, are Carolyn Elefant’s My Shingle Blog, San Diego litigator Jim Crosby’s TrialCall blog, and Solo in Colo (a blog on solo practice based in Colorado, but with relevant information for all). And for a great podcast/blog combo, check out legal tech guru Adriana Linares’ “New Solo” podcast and blog.
Your Local Bar Association: Your local county bar association likely has what is known as a “member benefits program,” or a set of relationships with vendors who will offer you a discount on their products and services as part of your bar membership. Member benefits can include products ranging from practice management software and apps, professional liability insurance and credit card processing software or lifestyle products such as discounted gym memberships. Here are a few examples of member benefit programs from the Alabama State Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, and the Chicago Bar Association. In addition, your local bar may have a lawyer referral service or offer promotional opportunities for your practice through writing or speaking engagements (read our tips for how to maximize your bar membership here.)
Books: There are the classics, such as Jay Foonberg’s How to Start and Build a Law Practice, Carolyn Elefant’s (of the MyShingle Blog) Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Have Always Wanted to Be, and new books such as Catherine Hodder’s Law Office on a Laptop: How to Set Up Your Own Successful Mobile Law Practice.
Where to Find Help: Sometimes being a solo means that you’ve got more work than you can possibly manage. Help is available! There are several general websites for freelancers who can do anything from help with research to running your social media pages. A few worth checking out are upwork.com, freelancer.com and guru.com. If you specifically need another lawyer, you may want to check out upcounsel.com, Now Counsel Network, or Hire an Esquire.
Other Online Resource Banks: Here are a few other resource collections that might help you find some support for your solo practice:
Associates Mind: https://associatesmind.com/online-resources-for-new-lawyers/
Practice HQ from the Illinois State Bar: https://www.isba.org/practicehq/open
Solo Practice University: http://solopracticeuniversity.com/
What other resources have you found that have helped you in your practice? Mention them in the comments below and we will include them in our next round up.
Copyright © 2018 Case Status, Inc
Clio and the Clio Logo are registered trademarks of Themis Solutions, Inc. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.